This is the editorial from the Gainesville Sun that appeared today and it is very clear. What it does not even point out is that this is no mistake or product of legislative oversight much less the law of unintended consequence.
It happened because it was intended to be that way. The more men and women you have in prison is the more jobs you have. There are only 3 counties that do not have a major correctional facility in the state of Florida. Often, these facilities are not only the largest employers but also employment opportunities with the best benefit packages.
Don’t think so? then I ask that you do your own research on the construction of the DOC prison Suwannee Correctional Institution and you will see that the Chamber of Commerce bought the land and arranged for facility hook-ups as well as passing zoning codes.
Then there is the case of the closing of the Dozier School for Boys (a must see link) where the county took a major hit with the loss of 200 jobs. An investigation of by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement gave it a clean bill of health and the next year the feds closed it for human rights violations.
The editiorial follows:
If lawmakers really want to save money they need to take a hard look at Florida’s runaway correctional costs.
Last year Floridians paid $2.4 billion to incarcerate 102,000 inmates. Even as crime rates have been decreasing in recent years, Florida’s prison population has grown.
It’s doubled since 1990.
It’s quadrupled since 1984.
An analysis released this week by the independent research group Florida TaxWatch indicates that 70 percent of prison admissions this past year were for non-violent offenses.
The state spent more than $300 million just to imprison drug offenders. Accommodating felons locked up under the state’s minimum-mandatory sentencing laws costs taxpayers $100 million last year.
And over the past decade, TaxWatch reports, “the total cost to taxpayers for the incarceration of the 40,900 probation violators without a new felony arrest … exceeds $1.3 billion.”
Taxpayers spent in excess of $200 million in 2009-10 to incarcerate juvenile offenders in adult prisons.
And perhaps the most discouraging finding of all: “Nearly a third of released prisoners return to prison and almost two-thirds are re-arrested within three years.”
In other words, for all the money Floridians are spending to lock felons up, the return on their incarceration “investment” is simply more of the same.
Florida’s “revolving door” correctional policies aren’t working. There needs to be less emphasis on incarceration and more on community supervision, rehabilitation and education.
Less crime, more punishment. Florida’s correctional balance sheet is seriously out of balance.
Total article: Editorial: Out of balance